J.D. Martinez isn't the first free agent to live up to lofty expectations
This offseason, the Red Sox sauntered over to the free-agent market and inked J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million deal. The product description for Martinez read something like "Just Dingers, but lots of them." All J.D. has done so far this season is live up to those lofty expectations by smashing 21 home runs to help catapult the Red Sox to the top of baseball's offensive leaderboards.
But Martinez isn't the first player to provide exactly what his team wanted. Here are some of those other names.
Kirk Gibson, Dodgers -- 1988
All Gibson did in 1988, his first year with the Dodgers after signing a three-year, $4.5 million contract, was hit 25 homers, win a National League MVP Award and hit the most iconic postseason homer of all time on the way to a World Series championship. Ya know, regular baseball stuff.
Barry Bonds, Giants -- 1993
After winning the 1992 MVP, Bonds entered the offseason as arguably the most highly-prized free agent of all time. He signed a then-record six-year, $43.75 million contract with the Giants and proceeded to become arguably the greatest baseball player in the history of the world. His 1993 showed signs of what was to come as he led MLB with 46 homers and a preposterous 1.136 OPS on the way to his second straight MVP Award.
Randy Johnson, D-backs -- 1999
After a midseason trade in 1998 led him to the Astros and one of the greatest pitcher rental seasons ever, Johnson agreed to a four-year deal with the one-year-old D-backs. He went on to win the NL Cy Young in all four of those seasons, including a hilariously good first season in 1999, when he rattled off a 2.48 ERA and 364 K's in 271 2/3 innings. Please go read those numbers again to yourself so you can internalize just how absurd they are.
Vladimir Guerrero, Angels -- 2004
After eight wonderful years in Montreal, the Vlad Guerrero Jr.'s dad took his talents to Anaheim before the 2004 season, signing a five-year, $70 million deal with the Angels. In that debut season for the Angels, Vlad kept the train rollin' with 39 homers, a .337 average and an MVP Award.
Max Scherzer, Nationals -- 2015
After riding shotgun to Justin Verlander on those super-fun Tigers teams, Mad Max joined the Nats before the 2015 season. Though they missed out on the postseason that year, Scherzer delivered on his end -- tossing 228 2/3 innings of 2.79 ERA baseball with 276 K's ... including two no-hitters. Since then, Scherzer has elevated his game to another level, winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2016 and 2017.